Click here for my first post on the today's Iraq-Patraeus hearing.
Patraeus touts the success in Anbar province where the Sunni leaders are working with the Americans. However, we must consider why they are working with us. It seems most likely that they are working with us because it gives them leverage against their enemies and is a way for them to consolidate power. They allegiances are unclear at best. AND what happens when they turn again on us after not receiving an adequate power sharing agreement with the Shia run government? At that point they would stand even more dangerous as we have armed them more then they were before!!! Arming and funding some of the Sunni insurgents to work as bounty hunters will only make political and national reconciliation even more difficult. It seems that we have bought some time by employing this tactic but at what cost?
The other point in the decline in sectarian violence is that it doesn't reflect the reality that many of the neighborhood's touted have been ethnically cleansed and therefore calm depending upon which group di the dominating.
Representative Tom Lantos reminds us of the danger in arming "former" insurgent groups with shady alliances by calling our attention back to the Soviet-Afghan war where we armed the Taliban and Osama bin Laden's future al-Qaeda fighters/leaders. As well as arming and letting the Afghani militias go after bin Laden at Tora Bora rather then do the job ourselves. The other thing to keep in mind as the GOP touts the success in Anbar is to realize that Anbar only contains 5% of the Iraqi population (as Mr. Lantos stated). Baghdad is by far the biggest indicator of success or failure in my mind.
Rep. Duncan Hunter is spouting off right now saying that success in his mind is being seen by the 131 Iraqi battalions "maturing" as we speak. This is such spin that I'm surprised Hunter isn't whirling around in his chair like a particle accelerator. The Iraqi forces have been "maturing" since the first year of the war and there has STILL been little success with them standing up on their own. They still can not do much without our heavy involvement. And forget about the Iraqi police who are as corrupt as corruption goes. So if that his Mr. Hunters sign of success then we are indeed failing.
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